From Lakes Entrance in Victoria to Eden in NSW is the “Wilderness Coast”. Forests with just a couple small camping/fishing oriented towns along this 300km long area, where the coast turns from facing south to facing east. I’ve been riding along the Pacific Ocean for the past couple days. Eden starts a series (heading north) of more touristy towns probably supporting the Sydney trade – called the Saphire Coast.
After riding past the resort communities of Eden, Pambula Beach, Merimbula and Tathra, I detoured off the Princes Highway last night and headed toward Bermagui, primarily to get along the coast and away from the hills (and traffic). Bermagui is famous for marlin fishing, and because Zane Grey used to come there to catch them. Otherwise, it’s probably not as nice as many of the other resort towns.
I left early, in the spitting rain on my quest for Sydney. My legs were not as strong as I would have liked, and while I covered OK distance, for the time involved it wasn’t that great. Coming out of Bermagui it was into a region of lakes. Here’s a representative shot of one of them Lake Wallaga. (Keep in mind the cloudy, rainy morning.)
My initial goal was 70km to Moruya for breakfast. 30km into the ride (about) I passed through Narooma, where I was supposed to end up that night. Here’s the mileage sign.
Most of the hills along here became rideable. That is, by shifting gears and maintaining a reasonable cadence, you can get up and down them. (Un-rideable hills you climb and coast.) This was welcome, but I still longed for any straight flat road. I got to Moruya after 10:30P, and had breakfast at the white building on the corner to the left.
This was a coffee/lunch shop that didn’t really serve cooked breakfasts. I was concerned that there was no place convenient ahead, and starving, and begged the 3 ladies there for food. They were very motherish and took great care of me. Then I crossed the bridge (I have 4 bridge shots today, but you’ll only see the “bridge of the day”), turned right, and headed along another coastal road. It was promising. I saw some pretty birds and some straight road.
The dirt along the side of the road was sand. I went through large areas where it seemed the underbrush had burned away scarring the trees. Some giant ferns (tall as me) grew in the understory.
Later on this 38km beach loop I came to the features of the coast that had attracted a number of little resort towns. Two views.
Good scenery on sunny days make riding more enjoyable.
And now the HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY.
14 days in the country (12 of them riding, 1770km or so). I’d seen all kinds of unusual animals, including a number of spooked wallabies or kangaroos (who are really quite graceful as they flee in panic from me – for some reason cars and trucks don’t seem to bother them, but a colourful guy on a quite bike is cause for concern.), but not a real Koala bear yet. Coming into Bateman’s Bay I saw the Birdland sign – featuring Koalas. My legs and I were all into this. So we paid our $13 and entered the park. They have everything, even a homemade (it seems) train to take you around.
But I was here for the animals. Koalas, Parrots (many, like below, outside not in cages), Ostriches, Echidnas (sp? – the porcupine-like thing with the nose), peacocks (where are they from?). The pictures speak for themselves.
There were two koalas, moving slowly in their branches, eating leaves. The ostriches ran right up to me. I would have fed or petted them, but their beaks are impressive. All this was fun for me – took maybe 15 minutes total. Then it was (lunch at McDonalds and) over the bridge of the day, and onto another mileage sign.
This was one of two bridges today that actually could actuate in some way to let boats pass. Then it was into impressive (bigger trees) forests north of Bateman’s Bay, and into millions of little moths. Billions. Maybe a couple dozen kilometers worth, continuously. I actually tried to take pictures of them, and they might have turned out, but you won’t see a thing in a 60k file size. I’ll let you know. They kept bumping into my arms, legs, sunglasses and helmet. The cars must be covered with them. I kept my mouth closed. I asked the girl at the Shell station in Termeil what was up, but she had no idea – genuinely out of touch.
Now I’m in Ulladulla, a pretty harbor town. I got here at dusk and hope to take a picture in the morning. It’s probably about 225km to Sydney, which means that unless the hills and wind (it’s been a slight headwind for the past two days) change their mind, I probably won’t make it. One more day of riding, one day of Sydney (Bobbie and Matt (friends from Charlotte) are supposed to be their waiting for me?!) and then back to the USA.
(23Sept02 9:28P Ulladulla)
– I’d really like to see Botany Bay, where Cook planned the settlement which quickly migrated north to Sydney. It’s not on the tourist maps I have?!